More on Copyrights.

When you publish a book on Lulu (and Amazon) the publishing date is displayed. Now what I have just pondered, is, should that be the Copyright date on the Copyright page? Or should that show the date the manuscript was first started? Or should it be when the pages were first formatted for uploading to Lulu (etc.,) ? The contents of a book usually exist before the book is created.

Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited April 16
    In the US "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." That is, as soon as you have typed "The End" you have a copyright. Of course, if you ever need to defend that copyright it needs to be registered, but there is no requirement to do that. Just be sure to include the usual copyright notice, for instance: Copyright © 2018 Kevin Lomas. This is the same whether the copyright is registered or not.

    Since you cannot copyright something that does not yet exist, there is no point in putting a copyright notice on the first page of a book you have only just started writing.

    Making the copyright date in a book the date of publication is a good idea since it reflects any changes, revisions or corrections you may have made between the time you finished writing the MS and the final version that will appear in print. Of course, you can have a copyright on the original MS as well as a copyright on the published version of the book, especially if there are differences between the two.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    In the US "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." That is, as soon as you have typed "The End" you have a copyright.

    In principle, that's the same world wide, and often discussed in the forums. In reality that is the actual original copyright date, even if only the creator knows that it is.

     Of course, if you ever need to defend that copyright it needs to be registered, but there is no requirement to do that.

    Apparently only in the USA. I assume that is to save a lot of bother, because one would have a registered, and therefore, provable date. But what I have also often wondered, is what proof do even the 'official'  offices of registration require? I would image that many of the unofficial places that claim to register a work do not ask for much, apart from a payment.

    Just be sure to include the usual copyright notice, for instance: Copyright © 2018 Kevin Lomas. This is the same whether the copyright is registered or not.

    Indeed, that's what I put in my many novels, well, depending on the year that is.

    Since you cannot copyright something that does not yet exist, there is no point in putting a copyright notice on the first page of a book you have only just started writing.

    The first page would exist ...

    Making the copyright date in a book the date of publication is a good idea since it reflects any changes, revisions or corrections you may have made between the time you finished writing the MS and the final version that will appear in print.

    One would hope that the final version is the finished one.

     Of course, you can have a copyright on the original MS as well as a copyright on the published version of the book, especially if there are differences between the two

    Perhaps the copyright is for the entire book, not just the words of the story therein, and that would of course be copyrighted the day of publication.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    In the US "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." That is, as soon as you have typed "The End" you have a copyright.

    In principle, that's the same world wide, and often discussed in the forums. In reality that is the actual original copyright date, even if only the creator knows that it is.

    Indeed. And to the best of my knowledge, that is the date you can put on the registration application.

     Of course, if you ever need to defend that copyright it needs to be registered, but there is no requirement to do that.

    Apparently only in the USA. I assume that is to save a lot of bother, because one would have a registered, and therefore, provable date. But what I have also often wondered, is what proof do even the 'official'  offices of registration require? I would image that many of the unofficial places that claim to register a work do not ask for much, apart from a payment.

    Well, I suppose there is really nothing stopping you from changing the title and character names of Gone With the Wind and getting a copyright on the book. But then you will have to worry about having enough money in the bank to defend yourself when the Mitchell estate proves it has a prior copyright.

    And in addition to worrying about the Mitchell attorneys, you will have to face the consequences of having falsified your copyright application. You are required to declare on your registration application that you "...certify that I am the author, copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive rights, or the authorized agent of the author, copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive rights of this work and that the information given in this application is correct to the best of my knowledge." 

    The form goes on to explain that anyone knowingly making false representations is subject to punishment and fines. The USCO is, after all, a federal agency and they take this kind of thing pretty seriously. 

    By the way, the "unofficial" copyright registries you find on line and elsewhere are worthless.

    Just be sure to include the usual copyright notice, for instance: Copyright © 2018 Kevin Lomas. This is the same whether the copyright is registered or not.

    Indeed, that's what I put in my many novels, well, depending on the year that is.

    Since you cannot copyright something that does not yet exist, there is no point in putting a copyright notice on the first page of a book you have only just started writing.

    The first page would exist ...

    Of course. But your copyright would, naturally, apply only to that page or to however many pages might exist. If you never complete your work, you would still have the copyright to what you did write.

    Of course, the Copyright Office does say that "Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form," which, I think, does suggest a completed work and not one in progress. That is, a book only half-finished has not yet been created. But I'm not an intellectual rights attorney so you can take that opinion for whatever it is worth.

    Making the copyright date in a book the date of publication is a good idea since it reflects any changes, revisions or corrections you may have made between the time you finished writing the MS and the final version that will appear in print.

    One would hope that the final version is the finished one.

    Not always. Many books go through revised later editions. Each may have its own copyright. Here is what the USCO has to say about this: "You may make a new claim in your work if the changes are substantial and creative, something more than just editorial changes or minor changes. This would qualify as a new derivative work. For instance, simply making spelling corrections throughout a work does not warrant a new registration, but adding an additional chapter would."

    And what may finally appear in print---after running the gauntlet of editors and copy editors---may be substantially different from the "final" MS you submitted. You may want to retain a copyright on the original form.

     Of course, you can have a copyright on the original MS as well as a copyright on the published version of the book, especially if there are differences between the two

    Perhaps the copyright is for the entire book, not just the words of the story therein, and that would of course be copyrighted the day of publication.

    Depends on what you mean by "entire book." If you wrote every word, yes. But if someone else wrote a preface or introduction, for instance, the copyrights to those may belong to them. An index may belong to the publisher. If your book is illustrated, the art may very likely belong to the artist. (For instance, my illustrations for Stephen Hawkings' A Brief History of Time are copyrighted in my name, not Hawkings' or the publisher's.) The cover art for your book may also belong to the artist. (Hint for self-publishers: if you commission a cover design you do not own the copyright to it unless you specifically spell this out in your agreement with the artist.) 

    And I don't think that "day of publication" is particularly relevant: that is really a date arbitrarily set by the publisher. The US copyright application requires only the year of publication, not the month and day.


  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Well, it was just a thought. Thoughts can be dangerous.

    Myself and my friend combined know everything there is to know, but he's not here.

Sign In or Register to comment.